Artist Spotlight: The rise of Chet Faker

Chet Faker's lazy-sounding and chilled out vocal style is met with complex and thought-out production – it’s a minimal and stripped-down take on electro pop. (philkitt/Flickr)

Today’s artist spotlight is on Australian-native-turned-Brooklyn resident Chet Faker. He released an EP titled “Thinking in Textures” (2012) and an LP titled “Built on Glass” (2014). He also created a collaborative EP with fellow Australian electronic producer, Flume, titled “Lockjaw” (2013).

Over the past year or so he has experienced a huge rise in success after the release of “Built on Glass.” The hit song “Gold” has over 20 million views on YouTube.

His lazy-sounding and chilled out vocal style is met with complex and thought-out production—it’s a minimal and stripped-down take on electro pop. The beats are understated but essential in pushing the tunes forward as they’re met with pulsating electro bass, electric jazz piano layers, guitar pickings and a tasteful amount of vocal sampling and harmonies.   

His lyrics are honest and his sound is unique – each song embodying something of a dark, twisted, unhealthy romantic relationship. In “Melt,” he sings “You got the easiest position to destroy my life / All you have to do is arrive.” Each track offers a mellow-dramatic intimacy into his personal life.

Speaking on moving from Melbourne to Brooklyn in an interview with The Guardian, Faker said, “I guess I was really comfortable where I was in Melbourne...I had everything and things were going really well. And I was 25 and I was like, this doesn’t feel like what I should be doing in my 20s. I felt like I needed to be taking risks…and that’s why I chose the east coast. It’s cold. People are living on top of each other. And not everyone’s got time to be nice.”

You can hear a cold, dark, offbeat nature to his music giving it a psychedelic vibe that puts the listener in his designed atmosphere.

In an interview with Pedestrian TV Faker said, “At first I tried to make a record that would please everyone, which ironically wouldn’t please me.” He then ventured off into making an overly complicated record, where he “wanted to reinvent music,” before setting sights on “Built on Glass,” which at its core was simply an honest record—“a diary…a collection of songs,” he said. 

The title, “Built on Glass,” is based on the idea that in museums, anything within the glass is seen as art. So for his own “mundane” life, “because I put it in this album format, it becomes this product,” Faker said in the Pedestrian interview.

As foreign as his production can feel to the listener, his dark lyrics are relatable to anyone who’s experienced lust and heartbreak. On “Cigarettes & Loneliness,” Faker sings “Now I don’t believe in nothing / Avoiding night, tell me you know / Maybe I could be this lonely guy/ That’ll sing on a song / Another tease will come along/ With everything I don’t want.”

Chet Faker’s music is especially fitting for fans of Bon Iver, Flume, Alex Clare and Banks. 
Faker has forged his own sound through experimentation, carefully choosing the right textures and lyrical sharpness to create a well-crafted record. He keeps the listener at an off-kilter altitude, evoking a meditative journey if listened through closely.

The real brilliance of his music is that it encompasses so many different genres – pop, electro, jazz, soul and blues – thus his unique sound cannot be pinpointed nor boxed in. His creations add something new and noteworthy to the soundscape.


Brett Steinberg is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brett.steinberg@uconn.edu. He tweets @officialbrett.